Where is the Little Girl I Carried???…..’Some Day’; Becomes a Reality

Kaitlyn FlowerI write this article today because so many times I read about people who are just unsure what the future will bring.  Once your child is diagnosed with diabetes, the future becomes a question mark.  Not necessarily because we believe it’s a question mark; but because many ‘outsiders’ tell us it should be such.

I write this article today because I want you to know, IT DOES NOT have to be that way.  I never once doubted that this day would come……..and now it’s here.  My breaking heart is flooded with tears of joy as within the next 15 hours, Kaitlyn will have moved on to a different journey away from home.

I would have thought that this would be temporary but when Kaitlyn opted on an apartment instead of a dorm room; my instinct said that Kaitlyn just may have bigger plans than just the one year of school ahead.  University of Rochester has an excellent program (with an excellent Medical Center) beyond a BSN (RN with a Bachelor’s Degree) for a Nurse Practitioner and Kaitlyn may, or may not, take advantage of that program but she clearly wants to be ready.  Thinking back, Kaitlyn has lived her life in that manner; always………….’ready’.

For 24 years 7 months and 29 days, this address is Kaitlyn’s home, with us.  It will still be her home but she will have a new address now.  From the day Kaitlyn was diagnosed on September 26th, 1992 we have worked for this day to come.  I still remember the doctor….yes a doctor….putting his arm around my shoulder saying that we should ‘hope’ for college but don’t plan on it.  He wanted me to know just how horrible this disease can be?  All sorts of things could go wrong.


That answer, although never accepted, became my power-stick to prove whatever the thought process was in the nineteen-nineties completely wrong.  Our education began.  And in the heart of this came The Children with Diabetes and those wonderful Friends for Life Conferences.  Being there from the beginning has allowed us the wonderful ability to link across the globe with the brightest and the best in the world.

Cannot was replaced with will.

No was replaced with yes.

Doubt became live life to the fullest potential you have.
There is no amount of gratitude in the world to thank Jeff, Laura, along with so many others, and what they all they have done with CWD, in impacting our lives in so many wonderful ways.

Many of the things I lecture or write about are taken from my real life experiences.  My mistakes (I am an expert), our triumphs (we have had many), our setbacks (many of those too) and our education have helped set a pathway that Kaitlyn has forged; and she has had one thing instilled her life more than anything else………diabetes would stop her from nothing.

I tell you that so YOU know, beyond a shadow-of-doubt, that tomorrow is yours to grab. As Kaitlyn grew up, she has had many friends, relationships, and achievements.  She was a class officer, part of the homecoming court, part of the prom court, she lettered in a sport (just because she wanted to), and has excelled in community service and academics that led to scholarships and awards.  She was a Girl Scout Gold recipient.  She finished her undergraduate studies, she was in the work force as a Program Coordinator helping patients; and now heads to the University of Rochester to continue on her pathway to becoming a nurse practitioner specializing in the very same field of the disease which was supposed to give her so much uncertainty.

Take that diabetes.

Kaitlyn is a very bright girl.  She has had down time.  She can share with you how she realizes that many, in life from diabetes and other causes, are not around today.  She knows.  But she also has realized that if she gets excited at the things in her stocking, that it can only get better from there……..that is Kaitlyn.  Grab life for THE NOW.

Sure I’m proud, what father would not be; and I hope my ‘gushing’ is acceptable today?  But more than my pride in Kaitlyn, I WANT YOU TO KNOW that Kaitlyn is just like anyone else facing the same obstacles.  Your child must be given the wings to soar. Educate yourself and your child.  Wings don’t just happen.  You make them.

Sure there have been bumps, but I have come to realize that no one is immune from life.  Life will throw all sorts of crap at you and you cannot do anything about that; but you can do something with it.  And THAT is how you make those choices……….yours.

So as the moving truck takes off, I will surely shed a tear.  But that tear will also be full of joy knowing she is on a road to do exactly what she has chosen to do.  Start doing everything you can now so when that day comes your child will have all the knowledge needed to be………………………….ready.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’


2015 Yeah…….So WHAT!?!? Well that is Up to YOU!!!!!

New Year 2015I guess many people will spend today, this week, reflecting on the year that has gone by so incredibly fast.  My heart broke this year because of the world around us.  No one is listening and when they do listen; they listen to the wrong things.  The world can change, we can change; we must change.

In a nutshell, that is what the year taught me.

Reflection; it has been a year of many changes in our family and they will continue.  All very good things.  As much as I live many things on my sleeve, much of the family day-to-day events stay within our family, where they should stay.  But changes occurred and people moved on.  Forward is always the best direction.  We all hope the best things for our children and they all moved forward in leaps this year; dusted themselves off when needed, and overcame obstacles when the world said;  “….you probably won’t achieve that…..”   Well they did.  And as I always say, they make me very proud.

Diabetes Community; I felt the diabetes community doubled in size this year.  Many new voices and objectives wanting to make a difference and I surely hope that continues.  New is good.  As I have stated many times this year, and wrote about it as well, we are strong internally and among ourselves; if we want to educate the world, we must continue to venture into that world and move away from our community.  Hold on to our community, stay with our community, lean on our community; but venture into the world as never before, a world that still has little clue about our world.  We must look outward…..and if that scares us, great!  Nothing done great is done comfortably……so fear is good; let’s look back at it at the end of next year and see what we did collectively.

Research; I still think the cure is coming and there are surely more devices, events, and projects like never before.  I caution, still, that we stay away from living the online battle on who is better, who is worse, and bashing ideas based on opinions.  We should not care who gets there first and one idea moving forward can always create a thought in someone else’s mind.  I would still love to see all these great minds in one room to create a ‘white paper’ on how to get this job done.   That goes for management tools as well.  And again I say, no one can ‘fix’ anything from the outside.  If you are not active in something, and you think it needs to be fixed, or should work better; you just cannot do it from the outside.  It’s too easy to give an opinion and everyone has one; if you want change…..roll up your sleeves and get in there and do the work to make it better.  ‘Work’ can mean whatever you want but just “don’t do nothing”.

For you; I want this day-to-day ‘diabetes thing’ not to own you.  I want you to live life to the fullest potential in all aspects.  If you are stressed, seek peace.  If you are lonely; seek companionship.  If you feel uneducated; learn.  If you feel inactive; move forward.  If you only ‘talk’ of doing; create an action step.  I hope YOU gets taken care of this year.

The bottom line is that we have one shot at THIS life.  Whatever you are going through, take it and make it whatever you need to make it.  It’s a great, big, wonderful world out here……..may 2015 allow you the opportunity to find that out as never before.

God Bless and Happy New Year!

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

PS……for those who always liked my annual ‘good-bye’ column to the year passed; you can read it here.

Time to Tell Your Kids with Diabetes…………………..

Clock appleI know.  They don’t listen.  They do what they want.  If they did what you asked, you would have less arguments.  Why don’t they try harder at their daily management?  Any, or all, of these should sound very familiar….and I am sure they do.

Today, I would like you to step away from all the things that your children do not do dealing with their diabetes and realize how much they actually do…….and I do not even mean as far as their daily management.

Follow them today.  Follow their worlds and what they do.  Follow them to the playing field or gym, to the mall, to their little world within their homes, to work, to school, to wherever they go and whatever they do……..just follow them.  Watch them.  Look at them.

Realize how wonderful they are because I certainly cannot answer for you but I surely can answer for me; I couldn’t do it.  I have looked up to some people in my life and very few of them I would consider a hero.

Our kids with diabetes are heroes.

Now in fair disclosure, all my kids are heroes; and I hope all of yours are too.  But as I watch my kids and what they deal with diabetes, helping others with their diabetes, and living life to everything it has to offer;……………….well I’m mystified.

Perfect?  Nope.

But for one day (feel free to do more) not only notice them; but say to them how you feel.  How much ‘wonderful’ you think they are as they go through life with this insidious disease.  They are heroes and many times the people who should realize how wonderful they are, don’t, because they are out doing everything else.

So let them know, today.  It will also make you feel pretty good too.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.


What Does this Picture Represent to You??????

candy wrappersDo you know what this picture represents?  If you answered ‘just’ Christmas candy, you probably do not have a child in your home with diabetes.  The knee-jerk reaction of any parent, who has a child with diabetes, on seeing this picture would be to find their child right away because they are probably dealing with a low blood sugar.

I have dealt with my own inner turmoil at the amount of ‘normal’ pictures, phrases, and every-day dealings that have taken on new meaning when diabetes entered our household.  So many things have become ‘diabetes-spun’ in my own head when I hear or see such things that I WELL KNOW mean something different to others.

Such is the case when we have been shopping and our child yells from the other end of the aisle, “I feel high, I need a shot.”  Yep, that turned a few heads.

Or the same scenario with the words, “Do you have a syringe, I left mine home.”  (smiling at the people in the store).

Or just while passing through the store and being by the maternity aisle when an eleven-year-old says ‘her pump’ is not working……..can cause a few raised eyebrows and throw in a few ‘tsk tsk tsk’s’ for good measure.   Ahhhhh timing is everything.

“Mom, my pricker doesn’t work.”

“You know too much sugar makes you high.”

Can you really see Wilford Brimley where you do not say in your head; “It’s not ‘diabetissss. it’s ‘diabeteeeze’ ?

Do words like rush, candy, high, low, sugar, sweets, recipes, donate, cure, research, and a whole list of other words immediately make you take pause with inner-reflection that THOSE words mean something to you that others would not even really HEAR?  I am sure they do.

What words or phrases have caused others to look at you with a raised eyebrow or what phrase do you hear that you wish…….well they didn’t mean anything…….but they do now that diabetes is in your home?  Share with us.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.


Food + Holidays (do not necessarily) EQUAL STRESS….Are You Stressed?

StressSpeaking of the holidays; if you start to feel beads of sweat on your neck when you think of the many places you will visit over the next eight days or so, I’m here to let you know that it DOS NOT have to be that way.

If you all of your thoughts are only about the food and the control YOU MUST have, you will stress yourself off the winter wonderland of fun.

First thing.  Depending on the age of your child, let them know that the closer to normal they shoot for that forty point swing of 80 to 120, the better they will feel.  Not the better you will feel, the better they will feel.  When we talk ‘numbers’ with our kids, it is how much better they will feel if they do not have to recover from a 360 high or a 35 low.  That said…..that gets us to…….

Second thing.  You know your child. You know when the are impacted by a low or a high and where…..I always ask, ‘Is it worth the war with your child over a number that is 180 or 120 for one day?  Only you can answer that question.  I have used Dr. Rubin’s one word of magic so often………balance.   Find the medium roadway of enjoying yourselves and making sure your child’s numbers are okay.  For us, on a holiday to avoid stress, we were content with okay.  Balance.

Third thing.  Fun and enjoyment.  The festive times are not ALL ABOUT food.  A lot of it, yes.  But not all of it.  Do not make it about don’t, don’t, don’t…..it will only make all of you stress out.  Have fun, encourage your children to ‘go play’, play games, play outside………enjoy each other.  Does this sound familiar; “Excuse me a second.  Joseph, do not eat that, check your number, when did you take a shot (or adjust/bolus; whatever)” etc. etc. etc.  No one wants to be watched every second.


If you make the holidays ALL ABOUT diabetes……..I can assure you with almost 100% certainty, that it will be.

Enjoy.  Take a breath.  Keep an eye on things.  Do NOT let it consume you.  Give your child (children) some space.  Start out the day to have fun………even if you are at this just a few weeks at your ‘new normal’ with diabetes, you know now what you are doing.  Stress is at the unknown, make your unknown only about what you will enjoy about the day.  That way when something happens………roll with it…..just like you do everyday.  Even if you know all of this already……a reminder is not a bad thing either.

If anyone wants to add any tips or pearls of wisdom……..please do.

You’ve GOT THIS!!!!!!!


I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.


Holiday Gatherings……..Get Ready for those WONDERFUL Comments!!!

Holiday gatheringsAs sure as Santa will buckle himself into the sled for the big ride this week, it is time for those of us who have a child with diabetes to buckle up as well.  Time to get ready as we go on our holiday ride which is accompanied by seeing all of those relatives and friends who know everything there is about YOUR child’s diabetes.

So today, I have prepared some comments that you will hear over the next few days; and also a few response that you can think, but probably should not use especially if you would like peace to reign at the holiday gatherings.  Where you see ‘names’ just substitute yours……..enjoy and take it all in the spirit it is meant.

Susie, put that down, it has sugar?  or “…….can you eat that?”
“Thank you, I can control my child’s food intake and maybe you should watch a few things that YOU eat.”

…….So I read that they have found a cure in the cinnamon factory in this little town of Unklidashia……….you guys must be so excited…..you saw it, right?
“…..must have missed that one…..but thanks for pointing it out…….since you like reading so much, perhaps you will read the one page I sent you so you might learn a little bit so you do not exclude my child from YOUR child’s next sleepover.”

(changing their face, tilting their head, and in the most absolute condescending voice which goes up two octaves as their head nods while they speak) ….How ARE YOU guys doing…….bet you’re glad it’s not a more serious disease……huh honey?
(pick any answer you want, I really wanted to refrain from using four letter words in this article).

(Meeting the new girl/boy friend of a relative for the first time.)
(awkward silence for 30 seconds that seems like an hour).  I hear your child has diabetes……..My grandmother has diabetes……well; had.  She died after everything was taken but her head.
Yup……another winner.

So Patti, my husband’s brother’s friend’s father has a friend….no, wait…….a friend? hmmmm….no a coworker, right a coworker, who has a son who married a doctor who told them that diabetes is so easy to live with…….so you guys must be doing great after five years?
I will answer that if you can repeat that…….idiot.

They (your child) look so healthy!
How should they look?

The holidays MUST BE SO TOUGH for you guys with all that food around.
No, we eat…..we’re allowed.  It’s the once-a-year-I-do-not-have-to-feed-my-child-cardboard holiday.

Remember, we are all here for you…..if you need Anything honey;, you just call Harry and I—-we are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO here for you both. (Followed by the fake hugs and fake tears).
Well, actually, I stopped calling when you could not help for an hour when I needed to run to the store, or babysit for two hours so Steve and I could go on a mini-date, or you were too busy for 5 weekends to watch the kids so I could run a few errands…..since you NEVER ONCE COULD help, I stopped asking.

The interesting thing is that these probably struck a chord with some of you because you have indeed heard some truth to some of these I’m sure.  So if as you are traveling/visiting this week and next; and you hear something that reminds of this article—–I hope it makes you smile and prevents you from choking the person speaking………for the most part, our friends and relatives DO mean well………………………………….don’t they?

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.